Today I want to continue the story…
The following is a transcript of the audio logs made by Agent Darren Hollister, Charlie Class Field Agent.
The log was recovered from site G2 in Columbia’s Northern Mountains and details the failed Mission 365H.
Audio log was recovered from forest surrounding Site G2, along with various damaged equipment. At the time of transcribing no agents, living or deceased, have yet been recovered.
Transcription not to be distributed to any agent under Bravo Class. Highly classified.
Hollister: Day five, Log is late this morning. It took us a while to get moving.
Hollister: So that was probably the strangest morning I’ve had for a long time. I had packed up my gear and was getting ready to finish my coffee and go shout at the nerds and the Sherpa’s to get a move on, when Kaitlyn walks out of the forest looking like she slept under a bloody bush. The girl had this half asleep, sort of happy expression.
Vinci: She looked the way I did when I messed up my back last winter and they gave me the really good drugs.
Hollister: Thank you for that Vinci. Now if you don’t mind. Not knowing what else to do I offered her some coffee, to sober her up a bit, and she turns and stares at me. She stares at me like I’m something completely new to her, something she’s never seen before.
Vinci: It was creepy as hell.
Hollister: Vinci, go and get the Dr’s moving.
Hollister: Vinci? Vinci you gone? I swear if you’re still here I’ll write you up on referral. Vinci? Right, pretty sure he’s actually gone, something isn’t right about this mission. But I can’t put my finger on it, we shouldn’t be this lost, we shouldn’t have lost Gavin, and the air feels wrong here, like somethings watching us. I’ve been doing missions now for five years, I know what it feels like when shits about to hit the fan and that’s what this feels like. I’m almost tempted to call for an evacuation but I don’t think I could handle the grief I’d get from the guys. My gut’s been in knots since we left base camp three days ago. I don’t like it.
Hollister: What ever happened to Kaitlin this morning seems to have stopped now. Guess it must have worn off or something. Girl’s gone back to being sad again, which whilst it isn’t ideal, it is a hell of a lot better than what she was doing this morning.
Hollister: But now something else has everyone’s panties in a twist.
Hollister: It was the little Sherpa, Simon, who noticed it first. It’s crept up on us so slowly, not to mention Vinci’s constant yammering makes it hard to notice this kind of thing. But no one noticed it until Simon pointed it out. There is no sound out here. It’s bloody silent. There are no birds, no wind in the tree tops. It’s perfectly still and absolutely silent, except for the noises we make. It’s like the whole forest is dead.
Hollister: It turns out I spoke to soon about Kaitlin doing better.
Hollister: We stopped three times this afternoon as the terrain has been steadily getting harder now that we’ve started heading up properly. Each time we stopped Kaitlyn vanished off into the trees; no one stopped her cause we figured she was just going off to do her business. But every time she came back she had this weird look to her. I know ‘weird’ probably isn’t scientifically accurate, but I don’t know what else to call it. She looks like she isn’t really aware of what was happening around her, dazed but oddly happy.
Hollister: Vinci being Vinci didn’t beat around the bush and went to talk to the doctor’s about it. When he came back he looked angry, he couldn’t talk to me for a few minutes which was damn odd.
Vinci: Just needed to calm down boss man.
Hollister: There you are. What do you mean calm down?
Vinci: Those assholes, you know what they said to me when I mentioned it.
Hollister: I’m all ears.
Vinci: It’s to be expected.
Vinci: That’s what I said. What the hell do you mean it’s to be expected. I tell you boss man I had a hard time not punching them both right there and then.
Hollister: Vinci what did they say?
Vinci: Right sorry. They said that they weren’t surprised and they had this shifty look to them. I pressed them for more but they climbed right up.
Hollister: Harrison, in here.
Harrison: Vinci with you? Ah there you are. You alright? You looked ready to snap a moment ago.
Vinci: Not alright, not alright at all. Something fishy is going on here.
Harrison: You mean with the doctors?
Hollister: You noticed something?
Harrison: I overheard a bit of the conversation Vinci had with them and yeah, I agree with him. Somethings not right. They weren’t at all bothered when Gavin vanished, not just we don’t care about him in particular kind of not bothered but more like they were expecting something like that to happen. They weren’t surprised is what I mean, there was no reaction and now they don’t seem to upset about Kaitlyn.
Vinci: I think the dosser was missing something. I think they know something we don’t.
Harrison: I’m inclined to agree. I don’t feel like the protection anymore Darren, I feel like one of the lab rats.
Vinci: Damn right.
Harrison: When Vinci stormed off the doctors started talking, brightened right up and started on about possible containment and reopening site G2.
Hollister: You two are jumping at shadows. There’s nothing going on, Kaitlyn is having some kind of breakdown because of Gavin that’s all, its tragic but not unheard of. The doctors are unfeeling assholes, again not unheard of. You two have to keep it together you hear me! I don’t want to hear anything more about it.
Hollister: I’ve managed to calm Harrison and Vinci down a bit. Panic like that spread like wildfire. I need them calm. But I’m concerned, we should have hit the river by now or at least be able to see it. We’ve been going up hill for days now, and nothing. Part of me wants to call for the evacuation but honestly nothing unexplainable has happened, I can’t let this spook me. I’ve got to keep myself together.
Vinci: Boss man wake up, I can’t take this damn silence, I swear it’s worse than someone playing the most annoying music you can imagine. I’m actually missing Pam’s J-Pop. Oh, God don’t tell her I said that. But I’m not kidding the quiet is getting to me. I want to start shouting just to hear something.
Hollister: Vinci it’s not even six am. Please tell me you didn’t wake me up to complain that its to quiet.
Vinci: Of course not. I came to tell you we need to keep a closer eye on the nerds.
Hollister: What do you mean? Why?
Vinci: I got up a moment ago to take a wizz and found the nerds sitting right outside Kaitlin’s tent. The flaps were wide open and they were sitting there watching the girl sleep.
Vinci: Don’t worry, I took care of it. But we might want to start taking turns keeping watch.
Hollister: We do keep watch, Harrisons out there now.
Vinci: I mean a watch on the camp.
Hollister: What excuses did the doctors have? I doubt they said they were watching her for her good looks.
Vinci: F**king nerds, course they didn’t admit nothing. Apparently they were monitoring her strange behaviour. Damn assholes, they must think I’m born yesterday. I may not have a fancy degree but I’m not stupid. When men look at women the way they were looking at her it means trouble. I nearly gave Dr Stephens a black eye for it, fortunately Harrison stepped in. He’s out there now keeping an eye on things.
Hollister: Ugh, Why Sarah put me in charge of this mission, I’ll never know. Johnson would have been a better choice; he’s got a way with the doctors, they actually seem to like him, most of the time, and he likes kids. He probably wouldn’t have lost Gavin and Kaitlin wouldn’t be half crazy if he was in charge. Damn you Sarah, you made a bad call on this one.
Vinci: Hey boss man it’s cool, you got this. Don’t be freaking out on me.
Hollister: I’m not freaking out on you Vinci, I’m just irritated. But regardless, well done good call.
Hollister: Is that my Dictaphone? Don’t you dare take the batteries.
Vinci: I’m not taking the batteries, I’m recording this, I want it on record that I caught those assholes peeping on her. Besides batteries are useless.
Hollister: Vinci, what did you do?
Vinci: I might have borrowed the batteries the other night to try and get the GPS running. Hey don’t look at me like that, you might not be saying anything but I know when we’re lost. It didn’t matter, for some reason your Dictaphone seems to be the only bit of working tech out here.
Hollister: I’ve been saying it for a couple days but something is really wrong with this place. I’m starting to think site G2 is acting up. It’s been silent now for days, no living thing but us and the trees. Well, this afternoon we started finding dead things. The odd bird at first, then slightly bigger things, rodents mostly. The little Sherpa, Simon, isn’t taking it well at all. He’s not said two words now for hours.
Harrison: The doctors have been muttering something about gas spilling out from site G2. Apparently it won’t hurt us, just little things.
Hollister: The first sign that we’re being affected and turning us around and calling for an evacuation. No one said anything about gas.
Harrison: At least Kaitlin decided to stop talking to trees this afternoon and walk with us. I can’t say I blame her now that the doctor’s have started stalking her.
Hollister: Course you can talk with me Kaitlyn.
Kaitlyn: Thank you, Mr Hollister. Can I sit? I’m feeling tired.
Hollister: No problem, let me shift over a bit and you can lean back against the tree.
Kaitlyn: Thank you. I’ve been feeling very tired today.
Hollister: We can slow the pace a bit if you need us to.
Kaitlyn: Not at all. I’ll be fine. The trees are quieter here than they were lower down. I think it’s the air here, there’s something in the air and it makes them quiet. It’s nice. I like the quiet.
Hollister: That’s good to know, I suppose. How are you?
Kaitlyn: I’m perfectly fine Mr Hollister.
Hollister: You can call me Darren, and if you need to … well you know I’m here to look after you. It’s my job to keep you safe, so if you ever feel unsafe you can come and talk to me. If anyone here make you feel unsafe.
Kaitlyn: You’re very sweet, Mr Vinci said the same thing earlier and Mr Harrison. They are worried that I’m upset at the doctors. But I’m ok. The doctors just want to know more about why the forest is talking to me.
Hollister: Well, regardless. If they do anything that makes you uncomfortable you can come and sit with me.
Kaitlyn: That’s very kind. But I need to talk to you about something important now.
Hollister: I’m all ears.
Kaitlyn: I have a message for you.
Hollister: Oh? From who?
Kaitlyn: From him.
Kaitlyn: He says you have to leave. Right now.
Kaitlyn: He doesn’t want you here. You and the others all have to go. I have to stay, I’m here for him. But the rest of you have to go right now.
Hollister: There’s no way I’m going to leave you here. If I call for an evacuation then we all go.
Kaitlyn: But you left Marcus.
Hollister: Excuse me?
Kaitlyn: You left Marcus. Marcus is with him now. Marcus misses you.
Hollister: How…But…how do you know about Marcus?
Kaitlyn: He told me. he said Marcus is with him and he misses you. But you still have to go. Now.
Hollister: You’re a Zulu class, you don’t have access to those reports. How could you know Marcus? Who gave you that file?
Kaitlyn: He fell out of the helicopter. Men were shooting at you and he fell. He landed in the trees, he was bleeding badly and his back hurt. He couldn’t get up, couldn’t reach his phone. He died in the trees and the trees brought him here to him.
Hollister: the trees? What are you talking about? Hey, where are you going?
Kaitlyn: I’m going to sleep now. Please think about what I said Darren. You need to go, while you still can.
Hollister: Day seven, the dead things are getting bigger. I woke up this morning to find a pile of them outside my tent. There were a couple of foxes, a stoat and a tonne of birds and mice. Someone piled them up and left them for me like a bloody cat would.
Hollister: I tried calling for an evacuation but I got no response. I tried again and the radio died. When I went to check the equipment for batteries or the solar stuff that Vinci is always on about, it was all smashed. Not just broken, smashed, like someone dropped a really big rock on it.
Hollister: We can’t get a helicopter I into get us so I’ve ordered us to turn back. We’ll walk out.
Hollister: Vinci! Don’t creep up on people, that’s a good way to get yourself shot.
Vinci: I didn’t creep, I called you twice, you kept walking.
Hollister: Oh, sorry.
Vinci: I didn’t sleep a damn wink last night, I know what it’s like to be tired, so don’t worry about it.
Hollister: If you didn’t sleep did you hear anything?
Vinci: No, why?
Hollister: Just wondering.
Vinci: You mean did I hear someone smash the equipment last night?
Hollister: Yes, that’s what I meant.
Vinci: No, I didn’t. Which is pretty messed up considering I spent the entire night at the camp fire, with the equipment in my line of sight the whole time. I didn’t see nothing either.
Hollister: Then you must have slept at least a bit.
Vinci: I know when I’ve slept boss man, I didn’t sleep. I can’t tell you what happened but I can tell you I didn’t sleep, this damn silence keeps me up at night.
Hollister: It is odd how silence can be so loud.
Vinci: That makes no sense but I know what you mean.
Hollister: I’m glad, I was starting to think I was going crazy.
Vinci: Nah, you’re sane as ever, you proved that this morning when you told us to pull out. Thanks boss man.
Hollister: It seems like going back isn’t an option right now. Kaitlin has disappeared. She didn’t disappear the way Gavin did, when Gavin vanished it was just that, he vanished; there was no evidence that he was even with us in the first place save for his kit. But Kaitlin left us a clear trail to follow.
Hollister: I hate to admit it but I thought about not following her, I actually thought about ditching the kid out here and turning back without her. Thankfully, Harrison has a better moral compass than I do, he saw what I was thinking and set me straight.
Harrison: Now were stomping through this dead forest making as much noise as possible following the trail of a nineteen-year-old kid who’s lost her marbles.
Vinci: Are you recording this boss man?
Hollister: Yes Vinci.
Vinci: Good. I swear when I get back I want a week in Hawaii, fully paid for, with those little umbrella drinks, all the food I can eat and all the women I can handle. HQ owes us big for this complete fuck up of a mission.
Hollister: Kaitlin’s trail went cold after four hours. There was a debate at camp this evening about what’s best to do. Do we keep looking for her and risk getting even more lost ourselves? Or do we abandon her and head back. Not that I’m even a hundred percent sure which way is back now. Kaitlin’s trail was the most confusing trail I have ever followed, there were times it seemed we were doubling back on ourselves only to wind up in a completely new area of forest. At one point Harrison was so sure we were almost back where we started this morning that he nearly walked right off the edge of a cliff. Sitting here now, looking up at what I can see of the sky, even the stars look strange to me.
Vinci: Maybe we can send one of the doctors up a tree in the morning?
Hollister: Day eight, it was decided that we should give up on Kaitlin and try to find our way out of here. We don’t have the supplies to keep searching, hell we might not have enough supplies to get ourselves out of here.
Vinci: What’s that noise?
Hollister: The silence has stopped.
Vinci: What is that?
Hollister: It sounds like … a hum?
Vinci: Is it machinery?
Hollister: I don’t know? Almost sounds like people.
Vinci: Simon? What’s wrong with you? Don’t cry man it’s just humming.
Hollister: what the hell’s wrong with him?
Vinci: I don’t know, kid just started crying on me. Easy there lad, it’s ok. Even this is better than that god-awful silence.
Hollister: Pull yourself together kid, we don’t have time for this!
Vinci: Don’t yell at him
Harrison: Darren?! I got something up front you need to see!
Vinci: I don’t like the sound of that.
Hollister: Me neither.
Hollister: We found Kaitlin.
Hollister: I knew it wouldn’t be good when I saw Harrison’s face but I didn’t know just what we’d be finding. I mean, I figured she wouldn’t survive long out here alone, the kid didn’t know a thing about the forest. I thought dehydration or exposure would probably get her long before any voices in the forest could and I might be right she might have died from either of those.
Hollister: But it wasn’t dehydration or exposure that put her half way up a sheer fucking cliff face. I’m an experienced climber and I know that I could not get up where she is without gear; even then it would be a struggle. A technical climb, not something a nineteen-year-old girl, with no climbing experience and no gear could manage by herself.
Hollister: How the hell did she get up there?
Hollister: It took us the rest of the afternoon to get her down. The doctor’s insisted, besides it felt wrong leaving her up there. But whatever put her up there put her up there good and tight. There is no way she could have done this herself. She was wedged tight in a gap, not to mention the way she was folded to fit into the space, no human spine can willingly bend like that, it must have been broken in three places.
Hollister: It took all three of us to free her and I’m pretty sure we broke her arm and one of her legs doing it. But we got her down and the doctors set on her like starving dogs. Pulling her this way and that, muttering to each other. I went and sat next to the kid, Simon, he was quiet, but my gut was speaking to me again, it was telling me that this kid knows something about what’s going on and by god I’ll find it out if I have the shake it out of him.
Hollister: You know that we can’t keep you safe out here unless we know more about what’s happening.
Simon: I understand.
Hollister: So, do you want to tell me what you know?
Simon: What makes you think I know anything?
Hollister: Call it intuition, or a gut feeling.
Simon: Well, your guts wrong. I don’t know anything.
Hollister: That may be true, but if it isn’t and more people die out here because you kept your mouth shut that will be on you.
Simon: No one was supposed to die.
Hollister: Tell that to Gavin and Kaitlin. Now, I can’t say about Gavin, cause I don’t rightly know, but whatever did that to Kaitlin … well I don’t want to run into it at all. But I certainly don’t want to run into it blind.
Hollister: It broke her, folded her up and slipped her into a space no grown person should have been able to fit.
Simon: Why are you telling me that?
Hollister: Because I want you to understand the severity of our situation. I want you to understand how damaging your silence can be.
Simon: I don’t know anything really, just what the doctors said on the way out here.
Hollister: Well, why don’t we start with that and anything else you might remember we can come to later.
Simon: They were talking about the previous disappearances, the one’s we’re here to investigate.
Hollister: What about them?
Simon: The dossier isn’t right, or rather isn’t complete. It doesn’t tell you about the people they were able to bring back.
Hollister: No one has come back, that’s why we’re here to find out why people are disappearing. If they come back it’s not a disappearance is it.
Simon: A lot of them did disappear but they found a survivor, about six months back. Dr Marlow said he’d been talking about forest spirits and monsters.
Hollister: Monsters? Forest Spirits?
Simon: That’s what they said.
Simon: What? The guy was mad, lost his mind from wandering the forest on his own.
Hollister: This forest was home to factory site G2. Specimens were held there and from what you’re saying it sounds like those bastards at HQ knew that one of them had survived and was active out here and sent us in blind.
Hollister: Could be anything, Specimen is a catch all phrase used by the docs, it could be a creature, an anomaly, a tear in the fucking fabric of space time for all I know.
Simon: I think it’s a creature.
Hollister: Oh yeah?
Simon: Dr Marlow was looking for tracks. He was insistent that one of the soldiers be able to track.
Hollister: So this is a hunting trip? A blind hunting trip.